Downsizer demographics have changed, says agent

A Sydney real estate agent believes there has been a “generational shift” that has changed the way older Australians go about house hunting.

Richard Simeon of Simeon Manners Property explained that the psychology of downsizers is changing.

“There’s a generational shift, you might say, from the last generation to this, where downsizers aren’t seeing themselves as making one move into a small apartment,” he told REB.

“They’re actually seeing downsizing as split over maybe two or three purchases over their next 20 or 30 years.”

According to Mr Simeon, this shift is a reflection of what is occurring sociologically in the market, showing that “this generation’s 70-year-olds don’t see themselves as actually that old”.

Rather, they still see themselves as quite affluent, status-driven, active people in the community, he said.

“Lots of overseas trips, playing all their sports, driving nice cars, going out to cafes and restaurants; it’s really an extension of their lifestyle, whereas a decade ago or 20 years ago, the 70-plus market would be desperately looking at downsizing to more modest lodgings.”

To facilitate the lifestyle they desire, Mr Simeon said that downsizers look for “lock-up-and-leave-it” properties that are low-maintenance.

He explains that such residences are popular among downsizers looking to travel in their retirement, who often don’t want to worry about maintaining large gardens, lawns and pools.

Mr Simeon pointed out that purchasing a lower-maintenance residence also enables downsizers to place a portion of the proceeds from the sale of their original home into savings, to aid in funding their retirement.

In targeting this market, agents should ask open questions to ensure that they understand the qualities a potential downsizer is looking for in a property.

“Do they want to be on the beach, or do they want to be up in the village? Is one level critical, or can they be over multiple levels? Are they trying to provide an environment that’s attractive to their children and grandchildren to visit regularly?

“Look past what they’re looking to spend into what is important for what they’re going to do with their lifestyle.”

[Related: How to capture the empty nester market]

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